Fox News and MSNBC in Top 5 Most-Watched Cable Nets

By A.J. Katz 

Another week, another win in total viewers for Fox News. FNC topped all basic cable networks in total day viewership for the 11th consecutive week.

The network was also No. 1 in prime time for the 9th straight week. In terms of audience trends, Fox News was down -3 percent in total prime time viewers versus the comparable week in 2016, but grew +2 percent in total day from last year. Across cable news last week, FNC outperformed CNN and MSNBC in both prime time and total day viewership.

Among all cable programs for the week, The O’Reilly Factor and Tucker Carlson Tonight secured five of the top 11 telecasts in total viewers, all attracting more viewers than the NCAA tournament matchups on TBS, TNT and truTV last Thursday and Friday.

Here are the 5 most-watched basic cable networks for the week of March 13:

Basic Cable Top 5 – Primetime (P2+)

  1. Fox News (2,543,000)
  2. TNT (2,174,000)
  3. TBS (1,929,000)
  4. MSNBC (1,775,000)
  5. USA (1,681,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (P2+)

  1. Fox News (1,439,000)
  2. Nickelodeon (1,164,000)
  3. TNT (910,000)
  4. HGTV (903,000)
  5. MSNBC (877,000)

MSNBC marked eight weeks of beating CNN in total prime time viewership, and ranked No. 4 across basic cable. MSNBC also beat CNN in total day viewers, and ranked No. 5 in the daypart. The Peacock’s cable news network posted year-over-year total viewer growth both in prime time and in total day, a feat not achieved by its two rivals. MSNBC grew +69 percent in prime time viewers, and +50 percent in total day viewers relative to the same week last year.

CNN finished No. 11 in prime time viewers this past week, and scored a top 10 ranking across total day (No. 9). The network posted audience declines from the same week last year, both in prime time (-28 percent) and in total day (-9 percent).

CNBC ranked No. 44 across basic cable in prime time, but posted a -15 percent audience loss versus the comparable week last year. The network ranked No. 61 in total day viewers, -14 percent year-over-year.

HLN ranked No. 52 across basic cable in prime time, -35 percent in prime time audience from the same week last year. The network ranked No. 42 in total day viewers, -29 percent in total day audience year-over-year.

Fox Business ranked No. 81 in prime time, +1 percent year-over-year, and No. 65 in total day, +36 percent year-over-year. Mornings with Maria Bartiromo, Varney & Co, After the Bell, Risk & Reward and Making Money all earned wins in total viewers, but CNBC won the key dayparts in the all-important A25-54 demo.

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of March 13 (Total Viewers)